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Bt Resistance Screening to Inform IPM for Western Bean Cutworm

The western bean cutworm (WBC) is a destructive pest that causes severe yield loss and introduces secondary fungal infections in corn and dry beans. Although WBC infestations have historically been limited to the western Corn Belt, recent range expansion has positioned this pest as a threat to most of the North Central Region and beyond, with economic losses occurring in Great Lakes states, Ontario and Mexico. Current management tactics rely heavily upon transgenic Bt technology and/or the use of economic thresholds and insecticide applications. Stakeholders and extension professionals in multiple states have reported field failures of Cry1F (one of only two Bt proteins targeting WBC). Therefore, we propose the following objectives:

  1. Expand Cry1F resistance screening beyond Nebraska and Kansas to include additional states (Michigan, Ohio, New York) to inform IPM practices across the region. Methods: Construct and deliver collection "kits" that include walk-in cages, black lights, oviposition cages, and egg collecting and shipping supplies, conduct trainings for each collaborator in their home state, and determine susceptibility of WBC populations to Cry1F proteins using lab bioassays.
  2. Bring together WBC knowledge and experts to discuss and share findings and provide a training opportunity for those working in regions of the country that have not yet had intense/prolonged experience with WBC. Methods: Conduct a one day International WBC Symposium where current research, IPM knowledge, and extension tools for WBC management (WBC Speed Scout App, degree-day model) can be shared and record WBC Symposium to provide access to wide audiences not in attendance.

Members and Collaborators

Dr. Julie A. Peterson (lead PD) University of Nebraska-Lincoln is an Assistant Professor & Extension Specialist julie.peterson@unl.edu
Dr. Brad Coates (co-PD) USDA-Agricultural Research Division, Ames, Iowa
Research Geneticist with the USDA's Corn Insects & Crop Genetics Research Unit
Dr. Thomas Hunt, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Dr. Robert Wright, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Dr. Chris DiFonzo, Michigan State University
Dr. Elson Shields, Cornell University
Dr. Andy Michel, Ohio State University
Dr. Kelley Tilmon, Ohio State University